Sunday, September 6, 2009

God's Guffaw

Lurkers: Need your input. Read this post and tell me what book I should work on first!

I am convinced God is having His share of laughter at me today. I don't know what God's share of laughter is, but being, you know, God, I imagine His share is pretty big. This morning I got up (which is always a 50-50 proposition) and made the commute to my PC and noticed the Internet symbol was amber. It's supposed to be green. A bright green. An amber Internet symbol means the Internet is not available.

Did I ever mention I make the better part of my living (such as it is) on line? If Mama can connect to the web then Mama can't do about 90% of her work. Yes, I can write, but I don't have my resources at my disposal. I don't have my email. I don't have access to the Meetup website to see how may folks will be coming to the gathering in five days. I can't tell if there are any comments or if most of you guys are still lurking. (Could you please comment once in a while? I would hate to think this wit is being wasted on just me!)

But I remain calm and I do some troubleshooting to figure out where the problem lies. In one of my past lives, I worked for Xerox and part of my job was computer hardware and software. I have gotten somewhat good at it over the years so troubleshooting isn't an intimidating thing for me. It's important to find out where the trouble is before I pick up the phone because one of the things I've noticed about Internet service providers, modem customer service and router customer service is they love to blame each other for the problem and if you have no clue about any of the technology you use, you can be making phone calls back and forth while they successfully close out your service ticket and move on to the next person.

I determine the problem is with the service. I make this determination because last week; three days in a row, I received recorded calls saying my account was past due and three times I called the number only to have the operator say to me: "Your account is current. You just changed the credit card number on file." The third time I may have made some comment to the effect of: "If I get another call like this I will change my service."

So, I'm thinking someone took that as a cancellation request and the reason I have no service is because they've stopped it.

So I call my ISP and expect to hear how my Internet is not not working; it's no longer there and I can have my service reconnected with a new contract for the low price of $6.95 for six months before the permanent rate of $1.6 million per month hits.

But that's not what I hear. I should have service. Nothing wrong with the account. Nope. My modem has gone out. My modem. My DSL connection. The tech wanted to know how long I've had my modem. Like I know. She says I've had it since 2003.

If she knew, why'd she ask?

It appears my modem has been decommissioned. It is obsolete. I will need a new modem.
One would think they would send out a warning to folks that says this perfectly good modem has been decommissioned because we want you to go out and spend some of your money on another modem. You have three days before you will have no service. She says I can get a new modem for the cost of shipping if I extend my contract for a year. Otherwise, I can buy a new modem for about $40.

I'm not planning on switching service so I take the first option. She has to transfer me over to the Customer Service department where a guy takes over and I tell him the CSR says I need to get a new modem. He says he will be glad to send me a new modem....

...for $79.99

Now, I don't know his mother's name, but I am certain it wasn't any of the names I called her.
He then revised his offer and said he will send me a modem for the cost of shipping - $19.95. Big rip off but I can't really go out and buy a modem for less than that and if I buy a modem, no one will service it. So, OK, send me the modem I say and ask how long it will get there.

Could be two weeks unless I want it overnight. Nope. 2 day shipping will be $24.95. OK, give me that.

So, I go downstairs and Mr. Honey and I are watching the Cubs game (sigh) and I mention the new modem is on the way and ask whether we should have a backup modem. He says he thinks that's a good idea and I make myself ready to go over to Best Buy to get one when he says.

"Don't you have dial up?" Understand, Mr. Honey's PC doesn't have DSL, it has dial up. That's what he uses when he's not on one of my PCs using the DSL. His laptop still runs Windows 98 - no joke. He says dial up is fine. Which is why I always find him using one of my PCs. I tell him I get 20 hours of dial up a month with my service.

"Then don't spend money on a backup modem. Use the dial up instead."
I am using the dial up to tell you about this because I listened to him. Do you know how slow everything is with dial up? Do you know how quickly I will run through 20 hours?

So here I am going old school. I've already spent about two of the twenty hours just doing the pre-business business stuff I do everyday. Mr. Honey does not understand this. He came in a little while ago and pat me on the shoulder saying I would live through it.

Of course I will.
Cuz tomorrow I'm buying the back up modem.


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